“Artist” or “Introducing Wilderhark’s Shapes-and-Colorsmith”

Those of you who have received Seven Swans a-Winning prizes from me (which I think is all or most of those who should have, right? I’ve seen some happy photos via Facebook and Twitter ^-^) may have noticed the gorgeous set of bookmarks that came with your goodies. Certainly, you’ve all seen the beautiful cover of “The Swan Prince (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales”, right?

Well, the same talented “one who practices an art; especially, one who creates objects of beauty” is behind all of the above. I came across her lovely gallery on DeviantArt (feast your eyes!), messaged her a pitch about creating my “Wilderhark Tales” art, crossed my fingers and mumbled prayers. Receiving her “yes” was almost as exciting as a contract offer from a publisher (which, thanks to J. Taylor Publishing, is a feeling I’ve come to know). Gazing at the work she’s done for me never fails to put a smile in my heart. And today, I am sooooo happy to present to you… an interview with Yana Naumova!

Yana ID

Me: Introduce yourself to the readers, if you please!

Yana: Hello! My name is Yana Naumova, I’m 25, and I live in the beautiful city of Samara in Russia.

Me: When did you decide you wanted to create art professionally, and how did you get started?

Yana: I was very fond of painting since childhood, and I devoted all my free time to this occupation. I’ve always had a lot of albums and notebooks completely filled with various drawings. I imagined drawing whole books with fantastic stories that consist only of pictures. My parents always encouraged my interest in creativity; they often drew and sculpted with me in the evenings. My father told me various stories about the artists and about the time he went to art school. I think it had a great influence on who I am now.

At the age of ten, my parents sent me to a children’s art school. There I learned the basics of drawing and got an idea what I would be faced with if I chose the artist’s profession. I caught a good teacher who encouraged pupils to experiment. At 16, I entered the Pedagogical University to the fine arts. Getting an art education has become for me a solid foundation in my artistic development, and prepared me to move on to independence.

Me: What is your creative process like?

Yana: My creative process from the external point of view is quite simple – I just sit and draw something, sometimes at my working place, sometimes on my bed. From inside it resembles dreams – I’m trying to grasp suitable forms and lines, to determine the color, to convey feelings and mood, as if you create or unravel the mystery of a series of characters/symbols.

Me: What are your favorite subjects to paint/draw, and why?

Yana: I love to experiment with methods and techniques of drawing, but most of all I like to paint landscapes and fairy scenes; I like to create illustrations for the stories. This process fascinates me!

Me: How would you describe your style?

Yana: This is a hard question. I can only identify the main lines of my work, which were formed under the influence of Art Nouveau and symbolism.

Doctor Villem Deere, Sula, and Sigmund, in a triptych of bookmark glory.
Doctor Villem Deere, Sula, and Sigmund, in a triptych of bookmark glory.

Me: ( It was her work’s Art Nouveau-esque qualities that first caught my eye. It’s just what I wanted for depicting Wilderhark!) What has it been like collaborating with me on the “Wilderhark Tales” project? (*sweats bullets awaiting my performance review*)

Yana: Taking part in this project was fun and easy for me. I was really inspired by the characters and story, and we’ve got comfortable and fascinating discussion of the characters. You have created the most favorable conditions for my creative work, and your comments and remarks were very appropriate.

Me: (Hooray! I’m so pleased to hear it. ^-^) Which of the “Swan Prince” characters did you most enjoy bringing to visual life?

Yana: I can’t choose, I think that I loved to draw them all 🙂 I liked to draw Doctor Deere’s face, trying to express his thoughtfulness and calmness. It was fun to work with ‘plumpness’ of characters; at first I somewhat succumbed to the stereotype that all fantasy characters should be skinny and starving 😉 It was quite refreshing to look at corrected/finished picture of Sula.

(MeSula may or may not take that as a compliment. XD But I certainly do!)

Y: One more thing – some days after I drew Sigmund, I entered your gallery and was amused that one of his pictures resembled my work a lot (his pose and appearance). I’m sure that I didn’t see this work before.

Me: (I was tickled by the similarities, too! Click here to compare for yourselfif you like, readers. It’s such a joy to have my characters’ selves shine through in the work of another artist – especially an artist with so much more skill than I’ve got!)

Thank you so much for agreeing to let my readers meet you, Yana! (Double brownie points for answering all my nosy questions in a secondary language; her mad skillz trump mine again, folks!) And while I’ve already thanked you a hundred times for your Wilderhark drawings, prepare to be thanked a hundred times more, from me and my outstandingly-rendered characters, too! After all, we’ve still got five more novellas to go… (:

PerGoSeeMo Psalms 2 and 3

Psalm 2. Hebrews 12:18-19; 1 Kings 19:11-12

            What might have been a song spins off into two and three

Conversation becomes chatter, turns to clamor, then to chaos

An aural blur of voices rises, higher, louder, unrelenting

Inside of me, my own scream builds to join them:

QUIET!

Volume’s hailed as power’s equal;

Victory to the trumpet blast

That cows the others into silence,

Short-lived though it will be.

            Strings of words, snatches of music

A streaming montage made of memory

Formed of plans and dreams and worries

Pounding like a restless tide.

Quiet!

I cannot think for thinking

On my thought’s runaway train

Every sound good as subliminal –

There and gone before I’ve time to know I’ve heard.

            My inner ears are clogged with noise.

I could not hear a whisper if your lips moved right beside me.

I do not ask for shouting or a whirlwind from the mountain;

Only burst the soundproof bubble muffling what you’d have me hear.

            Hush demoralizing din.

Still my spirit’s fuss and frenzy.

Lead me to a glade of calm.

We’ll picnic on the fruit of peace

And sit and share and simply be,

As friends can, with or without speaking.

            Respite beyond the bedlam…

            Stillness amidst commotion…

            Quiet.

            Bless you.

* * *

Psalm 3. Psalms 19:1-4

            The heavens tell of the glory of God

The skies are a gallery, exhibit of your artistry

A masterpiece of silent song, shining for the world to see;

Blessed be the Lord of the sky.

            The sun burns warm, and the moon glows cold

The stars twinkle merrily, a gift from far-off galaxies

The sculpted clouds ride on the winds that breathe their airy melody;

Blessed be Creator of it all.

            Every shade of blue, every tint of the dawn

Every bold hue of evening as sun and horizon meet

No sketch or painting ever was, could place itself in rivalry;

Blessed be the Artist nonpareil.

“Original”

It’s the adjective every artist is gunning for, right? 

2.         a. Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual.

             b. Showing a marked departure from previous practice; new.

3. Productive of new things or new ideas; inventive.

            Of course, as the wisest man on earth once said, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, New International Version)

            Correct, as usual, King Solomon. The sooner we artists accept this fact, the less disillusioned we’ll be: It’s all been done before. …but not necessarily just like that.

            Take, for example, a movie remake – say, BBC’sThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” versus Disney’s production of the same name. Same name, same story, based on the same book… and yet it’s not the same. The different writers behind the screenplays created different scripts. The different directors instructed the different actors to play the scenes this way or that. The costumes, the sets, the music, the technological techniques… all subtly or completely different. And naturally, turning away from the movie to read the book by C.S. Lewis would be an entirely different experience, too. But even within the same medium – comparing movie to movie – the dissimilarity is manifest.

            And that’s when the idea is to depict the same story. What happens when a story serves not as a pattern to follow, but simply a first spark of inspiration? Suppose a storyteller’s starting point is the tale of Sleeping Beauty. You’ve got the good and bad fairies, a nearly-lethal spinning wheel, a hundred-year sleep, a rise-and-shine kiss… You could use all of these elements, or pick and choose.

            Your story could consist of the journal entries of a fairy who’s fed-up with being overlooked for party invitations, and she swears, if that happens just one more time

            Your story could follow a century-worth of dangerous dreams that the comatose princess’s subconscious mind must brave in order to achieve her awakening.

            Your story could stick to the familiar formula right up until the kiss, when it then turns out that the prince has been enchanted into a beast and only broke the princess’s curse so that she could hopefully return the favor before the clock strikes midnight.

            You could end up with anything. You could end up with Book Two of “The Wilderhark Tales”. The variations are endless, and that’s where originality comes in.

            It’s up to the artist – be he or she author, filmmaker, painter, minstrel, or whatever else – to select from the teetering pile of age-old elements that have been used over and over under the sun, and recombine them into something wonderfully new. And we’ve all of us got a bit of a head start, there, too, because the one element available to each of us that none of the other artists have is… our own original selves.